October 31, 2014 - As time is often spent behind the scenes preparing organizations for disasters or situations that hopefully never happen, a business continuity manager’s breadth of responsibilities might not always be fully appreciated. However, today more than ever the importance of business continuity planning is growing with an increased level of threats, e.g., natural disasters, cyber-attacks, as well as mounting legal and insurance demands.
Organizations today face more expectations around duty of care and with that comes an increased burden on business continuity professionals to manage an ever-growing list of crises. Business continuity personnel must not only focus on the ongoing viability and continued operation of the business when facing crises, but also the large responsibility of caring for the wellbeing of the general workplace population. As stakes grow higher, mobile technology is helping by bridging the gap between emergency personnel, critical plans and organizations’ employees. Most importantly, smartphones are also allowing business continuity managers to focus on their organizational efforts and the health of employees simultaneously.
Offering detailed response plans and guidelines via mobile technology is helping business continuity personnel organize their strategy, communicate efficiently and empower employees to mitigate risks during and after incidents that could otherwise disrupt business operations.
Mobile Pushes Dynamic Emergency Plans
As organizations become more mobile-dependent and more employees bring their own devices to work, the process for communicating business continuity and disaster recovery plans is evolving. Prior to the adoption of mobile technology innovations, organization relied heavily on websites and printed materials to convey important emergency information and guidelines to employees. These printed emergency response plans became quickly outdated.
Mobile technology provides business continuity professionals a way to dynamically update plans and ensure employees have access to the most current procedures. As new legislation guidelines arise, safety plans and procedures must be updated accordingly to ensure full compliance. Using mobile technology can make this a more seamless process.
To guarantee that organizations are complying, some regulatory agencies, like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), as well as insurance companies, are asking for copies of organizations’ business continuity plans. FINRA’s emergency preparedness rule requires organizations to create and maintain business continuity plans appropriate to the scale and scope of their respective business.
Creating a Culture of Safety
Protecting employees and their wellbeing first should be the pinnacle of an organization’s business continuity efforts. Developing a culture of safety, through dedicated workplace discussions about emergency planning and proper training, helps organizations keep employees safe and aware of potential emergencies.
Mobile reinforces and improves training exercises, ensuring that during an emergency, employees can quickly find out the current status of an event or recovery, meeting locations, evacuation routes, incident reporting guidelines and other pertinent information. Mobile also lends itself to quickly taking a roll call of employees during or after an event.
Business continuity and emergency managers, historically, have been challenged to create very large plans for a variety of employees, covering many employee and business scenarios, often in different locations. Depending on the situation, plans must be tailored and designed for multiple building or office locations. Mobile technology now presents a way for business continuity managers to silo that information and present it to employees based on their roles and responsibilities and specific location.
Creating a culture of safety is important for business continuity, as natural disasters unfortunately are on the rise. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that in 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated 10,000 manufacturing facilities to close operations for up to two weeks due to structural damage, flooding, debris removal and loss of power, phone and Internet restoration. The businesses that tended to recover quickly were the ones that prepared managers and employees in advance for the multitude of disruptions that occurred following the natural disaster.
Sharing Plans with the Right Employees
It is important that the proper business continuity information is getting into the right hands and that employees and management personnel receive clear guidance on how they should respond to a variety of situations, including where to assemble during a crisis, who they should report to and how to access particular systems.
With proper security access controls, plans via mobile devices can be segmented and shared with all or a sub-set of employees. This ensures Employee A sees the necessary response plans given their role or location; Employee B will see a different list of plans and procedures. When employees leave a company, mobile provides the ability to automatically wipe response plans and procedures from devices.
Closing the Loop
Organizations are never standing still. There are always new plans and procedures, updated guidelines and/or systems and people either joining the organization or changing roles. Mobile allows organizations to quickly close the loop between emergency personnel and employees by indicating that a server is now running again or that a building is now open or employees can communicate that they are okay during or after an emergency event. With growing mobile device adoption, mobile represents a must-have platform to care for the safety and wellbeing of employees as well as the survivability of the business simultaneously before, during or after an event.
About RockDove Solutions
RockDove Solutions, developer of the adaptable mobile crisis management solution In Case of Crisis, helps organizations turns their crisis management, business continuity, emergency preparedness, and workplace safety plans into accessible and actionable digital playbooks. Serving hundreds of public and private institutions, in the rapidly growing enterprise mobile marketplace, the company’s award-winning, customizable crisis app prepares companies to quickly and effectively respond to crises. For more information, visit www.rockdovesolutions.com.